Apple products made up more than 18% of all New York City grand larcenies

“New York City became a much safer place in the past 12 years — unless you’re the owner of an iPhone or iPad,” Alison Fox reports for The Wall Street Journal. “While the city saw dramatic decreases in most major crimes during the tenure of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, one category has remained nearly unchanged: grand larcenies.”

“One driving force, experts and police said, is thieves snatching cellphones and electronic devices — especially Apple products. That type of crime is usually classified as grand larceny in the fourth degree, experts said,” Fox reports. “Many of the thefts happen on public transportation, where most people are buried in their devices and aren’t paying attention to their surroundings, said Joseph Giacalone, a retired New York Police Department detective. ‘It’s easy pickings,’ he said. The number of those crimes reported to police decreased about 1% when comparing 2002 figures to preliminary 2013 figures, according to data provided by the NYPD… The number of grand larcenies has steadily increased each year since 2010, the data show.”

“Nationwide, grand larcenies are decreasing: There was a nearly 13% drop in the crime comparing 2002 and 2012 figures compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Fox reports. “‘You’d have a spike in crime when some new thing came along: Michael Jordan sneakers or leather jackets… Walkmans, a new technology,’ said Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD officer who lectures at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.”

“In 2013, Apple products made up more than 18% of all grand larcenies—that is more than 8,000 devices, according to police. In 2002, there were 25 grand larcenies of Apple products, [NYC] police said,” Fox reports. “Many people charged with fourth degree grand larceny usually don’t see jail time; they work with prosecutors and agree to plead guilty to lesser crimes, said Steve Banks, chief attorney for The Legal Aid Society. In 2012, about 64% of the cases resulted in the defendant pleading to a lesser charge or receiving a dismissal, according to New York state Division of Criminal Justice Services data.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, iPhones don’t steal iPhones. People steal iPhones. iPhones aren’t the problem. People are the problem. If there were no iPhones, criminals would simply steal something else – just like they did/do with expensive sneakers and purses.

Also, if grand larceny has dropped nearly 13% nationwide, but only 1% (preliminary figures) in NYC since 2002, then, logically, the problem lies not with Apple products (which are certainly well-represented nationwide), but with New York City.

Putting the issue of morality or the lack thereof aside, how about at least punishing the criminals to the point where it hurts them and therefore dissuades them and others like them from attempting to steal other people’s property in the first place?

We know it’s easier to blame the maker of a popular item than to properly do your job, but the crime statistics plainly show that NYC is too lax, too accommodating to these criminals, and is failing in grand larceny mitigation versus the rest of the country as a whole.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Jersey_Trader” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
New York City Council considers pawn shop bill to fight surging iPhone thefts – November 20, 2013
Attorneys General for New York and San Francisco strongly urge iPhone and iPad users to download iOS 7 – September 19, 2013
S.F. district attorney optimistic over Apple, Samsung progress on anti-theft tech for smartphones – July 23, 2013
U.S. State and federal governments test Apple’s iOS 7 activation lock feature – July 18, 2013
Apple reveals iOS 7 theft deterrent feature ‘Activation Lock’ ahead of gov’t meeting on crime – June 10, 2013
New York City crime is up and Mayor Bloomberg blames Apple iPhone thieves – December 28, 2012
Apple product thefts in New York City outpace rise in overall crime – September 25, 2012


  1. Where is Samsung’s me too crap when you need them. It cost nothing to steal a device and they will not settle for that crap even at no cost. I assume they can’t pawn those Non-Apple devices for anything. That is when you see the real value of any product. Samsung devices have none!

    1. Perhaps someone should market a Samsung Galaxy “cases” for iPhones – S3, S4, Note II, whatever. Few people will try to steal an iPhone disguised as crap. And the larger case size provides plenty of cushioning as well as the opportunity to add supplemental batteries to increase run time. /s

  2. Of course an increase of individuals per unit area results in all sorts of social deviance but hey, I don’t see anyone trying to curtail population growth save for the Chinese.

    Everyone else is still chanting the now useless worn out and now very dangerous mantra “Go forth and multiply.”

    Either regulate your population growth humans or it will be done for you. NOW.

    1. Population is not the problem but the lack of education is. Education must include some sort of ethics or value system that society agrees on as well as how to think critically. People must be taught that they must be of value to mankind rather than ‘do what makes you happy’.

      1. Hey 3l3c7ro, thanks for your post.

        Overpopulation IS one of the greatest problems facing humankind. There are lots of studies on behavioral changes in relationship to population densities. You and I are lucky that we live in one of the more sparsely populated areas of the planet. Get educated on it.

        That being said, your point about education is spot on, but the education system does not engage people (students) in critical thought and even less on emotional empathy.

        People have free will, there is not “must” here. If there was one could argue that they must be taught to be of value to all of lifekind. The concept of humans being at the centre of it all is arrogant and at this stage of history very very dangerous.

        On another note I’d like to thank you for the restraint you have shown towards people using colorful language to express themselves. I hope you realize that I’ve been holding back on my colorful language somewhat as a result of this.

        Good post, I appreciate those who see the value of education. Oh and educated people tend to have less children so it does have an influence on overpopulation indeed it does.

    2. MDN’s Take is really off-point on this.

      First, it should hardly be surprising that an increase in the number of small (easily portable) expensive and easy-to-resell objects in the hands of pedestrians would increase the chance that someone will try to steal it. The reward-to-risk ratio changed dramatically with iPhones. So, the assertion that these people would just steal something else is weak. Most people are not pathological – they commit crimes because something made it seem like a reasonable choice.

      Second, it should hardly be surprising that a place like NYC with a huge density of people (who can be carrying their phones in the open because they aren’t driving and are also within arms-reach of each other) will have a higher rate of theft. It is intellectually lazy to make an assumption that factors other than the very different interactions in NYC are what accounts for it’s different crime rates

      Third, in these kinds of reward-to-risk comparisons, increasing the sentence doesn’t generally get factored in very much to the typical thief’s decision. Harsh sentences won’t do much to deter crime, they will mostly just increase the number of people who, once released, have few choices OTHER than committing additional crimes.

      Finally, MDN missed a great opportunity to brag about the feature Apple recently added that will ACTUALLY change this situation: the Activation Lock. THAT will rebalance the reward-to-risk ratio much more than any misguided attempt to funnel taxpayer money to the prison industrial complex would.

    1. There are two sayings that put the differences between Europe and America, and East Coast/West Coast into perspective:

      “In Europe, 100 miles is a long way; in America, 100 years is a long time.”

      “The West Coast is 3 hours behind, but 20 years ahead.”

  3. MDN: Punishing criminal has not shown to be effective unless you are considering Islamic style punishments like cutting off hands and floggings. Putting people in jail with other hardened criminals is just sending them to crime school. The justice system should be about justice and make the criminals pay for their crimes by working for state run businesses that not only pay for the prisoners’ upkeep from the profits but also pay off the damage these criminals have done to society.

          1. Only 3I3c7ro would come up with a plan to rehabilitate the criminals in this stupid story. That’s his angle, he’s a WWIC. A “Why wasn’t I consulted” type of personality.

            He has a solution for every problem and when you read his comments you can read the sexual tension in his words, which usually results in bland advice with a moral bent.

            When confronted he feigns naiveté.

    1. Yes. Think Different.

      Perhaps you don’t put them into prison with the rest of the degenerates. Maybe you make them sweep the streets until they have earned enough at minimum wage to pay back the victim 5x the original cost of the device they stole?

      Whatever the punishment, make it hurt enough to dissuade them from attempting grand larceny again.

      Creative sentencing is the key.

      My God, I think you and I agree is some regard here. Miracles do happen!!!

    2. Where would one find these state run businesses that generate a profit? I don’t think we have any of those in this country (US). But why state run? Why not simply mandate that private industry must employ these miscreants and pay their wages to the state who would then pass them on to the victims of the crimes after taking a small piece of the action for their own coffers? But then, who would employ the people put out of work by such a mandate? A criminal syndicate? Ah, I love chasing my tail.

  4. Next in the news, armed robber gives back Galaxy phone to owner. According to a statement recorded from prison “I pitied that guy, his phone looked so cheap”.

    1. No. Not the solution. If anything, your approach would end up distributing lots of new handguns into the criminal system. Just because you have a handgun readily available does not mean that you will have a chance to use it. Open carry would also make it easier to steal.

      I really don’t want to be around when you and your ilk decide that it is time to start shooting.

    2. No shit – concealed carry would work even better by also protecting the unarmed – but you’ll never get it in the New York nanny state under Cuomo Jr. or in NYC under the extremely confused socialist de Blasio.

      The State of Vermont, which allows gun owners to pack concealed firearms without any permits, proves that concealed carry deters crime. Vermont, with 142.6 cases of violent crime per 100,000 residents, has one of the lowest violent-crime rates in the nation.

  5. Apple’s products are so hot, NYC Police has a spreadsheet category for Apple devices. How’s that for a popularity metric Google? Crime statistics.

    And while in a city of roughly 8-million people, this news is hardly significant other than it runs incongruent to the trends of all other crimes in NYC it proves one thing, Apple is brilliant.

    Law enforcement wants a self-destruct—like Find My Phone—feature built into every smartphone, which is by far cheaper to replace than it is to sequester the exploitation and resulting damage caused by the irresponsible phone owner who fails to secure their device.

    Developing Find My Phone was a no-brainer. People misplace things all the time and thanks to Apple’s engineers I can remotely destruct my Apple smartphone.

    Good luck getting a consensus among the Android community handset makers to follow suit. Watch, it will become compulsory by 2021, provided Google and Moto can figure it all out.

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